I was obsessed with bologna sandwiches as a kid, which blossomed into a love of corned beef sandwiches as an adult. I couldn’t find either while I was living in Paris during my junior year of college, so out of desperation for comfort food I accidentally invented the terrine sandwich.
I think the progression from bologna to corned beef to terrine is natural — as a kid, taste buds are underdeveloped and tolerance for texture is low. Smooth, mild bologna. As an adult, the urge to tear and consume tender, fatty meat is simply human. Stringy, juicy corned beef. Once you’ve exhausted those options, the only thing that will satisfy you properly is a combination of flavors and textures that keeps your mouth guessing.
Terrines slice like deli meat and go with all the same things — tomatoes, pickles, good strong mustard, maybe even a little interesting cheese — but the flavors are more concentrated and the textures vary from succulent meat to tender vegetable to shred of fat to silky aspic and back.
Pâté de campagne, French country-style terrine, is a good place to start. It’s made of ground pork, ham and bacon along with plenty of butter, cream and cognac. Thanks to its unique texture, it works in slices or as a spread. From there, I recommend you work your way up to something like the pot-au-feu terrine at a place like Lincoln Center’s Epicerie Boulud, which I’ve tried several times to recreate with varying levels of failure and a lot of weird-looking compressed meat to eat afterwards. It’s beef brisket, braised, pulled and set in vegetable and whole-grain mustard aspic with alternating layers of crisp blanched carrots, celery and leeks. Yes, I tried to recreate a charcuterie recipe of Daniel Boulud’s with no guidance. I don’t know where I get off.
Vegetarians aren’t left out of this party — veggie terrines are actually a lot easier to make, if slightly harder to slice. Break out the rectangular mold and mandolin and create thin, even layers of vegetables like squash, eggplant, carrot, whole halves of roasted red pepper, spinach and anything else that will lay flat, alternating every few layers with crushed pistachio-laced goat cheese. Place something heavy on top to compress, bake briefly, then chill and allow to set. You’ll probably need an electric knife. Now that is a dope sandwich right there.
If all that effort seems like kind of a lot for just a sandwich, you may need a few days at the cabin in the country to reassess your priorities. Sandwich fatigue is a real thing. Don’t wait til you’re eating SPAM out of a can with a grapefruit spoon. Then it’s too late.
More awesome sandwiches for lunch on Food Republic: